It is widely documented that many military members have a difficult time adjusting to daily life after they return home from deployment. In addition to physical issues, many suffer PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and other mental issues. Now a recent study shows that military personnel are 13 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident six months after returning from overseas than the six months prior to before they left.
A major insurance company that services the armed forces and their families initiated a study over a three-year period, ending in February 2010. The study found that soldiers took on a driving style that kept them alive on the streets of Baghdad and Kabul, then applied it to the roads at home, including in cities and suburbs. They also concluded that accident rates were higher for members of the Army and the Marines than the Navy or the Air Force.
Military members who were given experience with explosive devices and other roadside obstacles in combat zones gave soldiers a kind of conditioned response while driving, which resulted in more accidents when they returned home. The insurance company also found that soldiers who were deployed three or more times had 36 percent more accidents than those deployed only once.
This is an important study which sheds light both on the reactions and driving capabilities of returning military members. It may also spark a debate on how this evidence could be used in pursuing claims against military drivers who cause accidents. Regardless of how the evidence may impact personal injury claims, the survey lends more support to the growing body of data on the psychological and physical effects of living and surviving in a war zone.